Today’s Gifts Over Tomorrow’s Worry
BY JENNIFER SEYLAR
I am blessed to have 2 furry pups in my life. They greet me with unconditional love and acceptance each time I return home. Weighing in at 9 and 14 pounds, they are fluffy bundles of joy! The small guy is 14 years old and has lost most of his sight and hearing. As a result, he communicates by whining for attention and licking those he loves. Even so, his disposition is still puppy-like on his daily walks, and he always is a delight!!
At the age of 14, I know that his life on earth is limited and that makes me sad, especially in the wake of my husband’s death. Yet I know that worrying about a future without the little guy will not benefit me. In fact, I know that to worry about what is yet to come robs me of the gifts that today holds. To grieve what has not yet happened is to live an incomplete life, and so I seek to enjoy my little critter while I still have him.
I wish the same could be said for other areas of my life. Worry seems to creep into the crevices of my life. Too often I have trouble falling asleep because I am thinking about all the things that need to be done. The many challenges that come with home ownership, parenting, relationships, and work cause me to toss and turn long into the night. That worry also affects my health. My neck aches from the tension I carry in my back. I long for a nap in the afternoon because of the lack of sleep most nights. Yet when the strains of life threaten to overcome me, I remember Jesus’ words: “Who among you by worrying can add a single moment to your life?….Therefore, stop worrying about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matt. 6:27, 34 CEB).
Slipping into a pattern of fretfulness is easy if I am not on my guard. When I hyper focused on the things that are out of my control, I miss out on the abundant life right in front of me that God created me to live. It takes practice to set aside worry and choose joy. Just when I think I have the hang of it, I discover worry creeping back in. Over and over again I have to free myself from the strains of life. But I fight to break the pattern of allowing the challenges to overtake me because I know I need not bear the burden alone. I remember 1 Peter 5:7 that says, “Let God have all your worries and cares, for God is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you” (TLB).
A speaker shared one time an image of giving our worries to God, and I seek to use it on the sleepless nights when I am anxious. I imagine a store checkout counter with paper sacks standing upright on the conveyor belt. One by one, each of my worries and cares are placed in the bags, and the conveyor belt moves forward and upward, carrying them to God. Once I give them to God, I try hard not to take them back.
How about you? Is there anything you need to put back on the conveyor belt and send up to God? Remember, He is faithful. You do not need to walk through this life alone.
FOR FURTHER THOUGHT God created each one of us to live a complete and fulfilling life. We can best accomplish this when we allow God to carry the weight of tomorrow. We are not equipped to live in today AND live in tomorrow. Take some time to assess your life. Are you living in the present moment, enjoying the beauty of the people and world around you? Or are spending your days worrying about the many things beyond today that are out of your control? If the latter is true, take some time to pause, breath and notice what is right in front you. Experience the sounds you hear, the colors around you. Be in the now. That doesn’t mean you don’t plan for the future or prepare for events that are on the calendar; you give it the attention it needs but just for today. But it does mean embracing the freedom Jesus so freely gave you in this moment now.
Jesus put it best: “If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met” (Matthew 6:28-34 MSG).
PRAYER Comforter God, thank You for loving me enough to take my worries. Guide me to each day to live my most abundant life, keeping tomorrow in its rightful place. Help me to pause regularly in my day to assess my own heart, pausing to breathe and notice the world that surrounds me. I know that I can only be present in the today, and so Lord, help tomorrow to not consume me. I praise Your presence in my life, Lord. Amen.